November 10: To Fee, or Not to Fee

I have a Duotrope membership. It makes me feel a little closer to a professional publication history — don’t judge.

Anyway, I get the weekly email that outlines which markets are closing (this week’s sadness includes the close-down of Crossed Genres. See the update here), which have reopened to submissions, which are paying markets, and so on.

One thing that is appreciated about Duotrope is that the fee-based opportunities are clearly marked. I have clicked on a few but have never paid a fee to enter my work.

Well, I can’t say ‘never’ — about a thousand years ago, I paid an entry fee for a poetry anthology. I was excited to get the hardbound volume with my piece included. It was a while before I realized that those of us who paid are the ones who ended up in print.

Let’s just say it jaded me to fee-based markets.

I do follow a few fiction magazines and journals that require a fee — some are clear to state that the money goes into the pot to pay the authors whose works get printed.

I wonder about fees in general, particularly in light of the stance most book agents and publishers take: they don’t ask for fees and payments to authors come in the form of the deals the agent works out or are built into the contract the publisher offers. Some agents and publisher sites go so far as to suggest that authors beware of those who ask for any sort of money up front.

Should the same caution be considered when considering a story submission? A writing contest?

So much to think about …